Competition for space in congested city streetscapes drives development of innovative track structure solutions

The track structure designs for light rail systems in Australia vary considerably. The lack of a standardised design methodology has resulted in a variety of design approaches being adopted in the past, and potentially, overly conservative solutions. A number of Australian cities are either expanding existing tram/light rail systems or introducing new light rail systems. A 12 kilometre extension of the Sydney Light Rail (SLR) system, connecting Circular Quay to Randwick and Kingsford is currently being delivered. The 13 kilometre first stage of the Gold Coast Light Rail was opened in July 2014 and the 7.5km Stage 2 extension is currently being delivered. A 12 kilometre light rail system is also being delivered in Canberra. Other light rail projects are planned for growing population centres such as Newcastle, Parramatta and Sunshine Coast amongst others. These projects present a variety of challenges leading to the designers developing new and efficient solutions. Impacts on critical road connections crossing the route have to be minimised, requiring design solutions that facilitated rapid construction. Similarly, solutions are being developed to minimise impact on the vast number of existing underground utilities. The existing brown field conditions also present numerous complex challenges to the track structure. These included existing in-ground structures, varying foundation conditions, sensitive noise and vibration receivers, as well as construction staging restrictions. The track structure design may be required to integrate with numerous other project elements including bridge structures, tunnel structure, drainage, services, retaining walls, derailment containment, depot environments, pedestrian zones and shared bus zones. A unique aspect of the new city section of the Sydney Light Rail is the inclusion of a special track form for the APS systems. The APS system provides power through track level conductors, eliminating the need for overhead contact wires and their associated supporting network structures. As a result of these projects, new and innovative track structure solutions are being developed to deliver effective and integrated rail system solutions, with wider application to future Light Rail projects. In this paper, the details underlying the design process will be discussed. Previous methodologies and solutions for track support systems are challenged, modern analytical methods applied and new interpretations of current relevant guidelines developed.

Media Info

  • Pagination: 7p. ; PDF
  • Monograph Title: Maintaining the momentum: CORE 2016: conference on railway excellence, 16-18 May 2016, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01636829
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: May 30 2017 3:27PM